BMW Software Update & Coding

BMW iDrive software updates

First of all lets start by giving you a quick rundown on how it works. There are two kinds of BMW software updates. Below you can find out more about the types of software updates.

  1. The main software update discloses system-wide issues and features, upgrading any of your car’s electronic control modules (ECUs) that require it. To make sure you are receiving exactly the right update you need, the BMW computer will first scan the hardware number on each of your ECUs. Only BMW dealers or technicians which have access to the special programming equipment will be able to do the main software update, Unless something is not working properly or you need the update to fix the car or to get newer equipment to work, you won’t need this kind of upgrade. BMW advises against it unless absolutely necessary, and we agree due to potential complications and risks.
  2. There is a more common software update or media software update, this will cover things like Bluetooth, Internet connectivity, Multimedia and mobile compatibility with either your Apple iOS or samsung/Android system. Any owner can install this kind of update themselves as long as their car has a Com-box, which works with iDrive and enhances technology features in your BMW. Newer NBT and later iDrive systems have Combox functionality already built-in, making it even easier, although older models can be fitted with iDrive (at and Combox.

Updating a stock BMW iDrive system

If your car came with a updated iDrive system from the factory, or is an older car with a factory-installed Combox, you can search for the newest software version for your vehicle on BMW’s software update website.

After you’ve entered your VIN, BMW will then check its records to see which software is already installed in your vehicle, If there is a newer version you will then be able to download it straight from BMW’s website, ready to import to a formatted USB flash drive. Inserting the flash drive into the USB port will let you install the update. You will then be able to connect a larger variety of devices to your BMW and start enjoying more multimedia features in your car, without having to go to the dealer.If there isn’t a more up to date version of the software available for your vbehicle, BMW software update website will tell you. In that case, a software update isn’t going to be enough to add any features you’re missing. BimmerTech offers BMW remote coding to improve connectivity with your smartphone and third-party apps, with coding options including Enhanced Bluetooth, BMW Apps and Apple CarPlay. Like updating your software, BMW coding can be as easy as plugging a flash drive into the USB port in your car, or can be done with dedicated BMW coding software.

Updating a retrofit iDrive or combox

You can only download and install a software update file from BMW if your Combox or compatible iDrive is factory fitted. BMW’s records will still show that your car doesn’t have the new hardware, and won’t show that you qualify for the software update.If this is the case all you have to simply do is get in touch with us and we can get you the official BMW update.

If you receive the update directly from BMW or us, installing the software update is no more complicated than updating your navigation’s map. Just put the file on a thumb drive or other USB memory stick, plug it into the armrest USB port and go to the Settings menu in iDrive. Locate the Software Update option in the menu and follow the instructions on the screen.

Pretty easy, but there’s one final question: what if you add a Combox or NBT Navigation using a BimmerTech upgrade kit and BMW introduces an essential main software update sometime down the road? Just remove the Combox/NBT before taking your BMW vehicle to your dealer for the update then reinstall it when you get it back. If it needs recoding as this can sometimes happen just contact our tech team and we’ll get it going again before you know it.

Apple fans will also be excited about being able to Retrofit Carplay into an older BMW if they decide on fitting NBT EVO with ID5/ID6 into their BMW.

The bottom line is, iDrive and Combox Media functionality can make driving and using your BMW infinitely more enjoyable, so if you have the opportunity to upgrade, we say do it. We are always here to help if you need some advice on doing the upgrades yourself and some guidance. Get in touch!!

PLEASE NOTE: BimmerTech is not able to offer support for software updates provided by BMW or any other company. For more help updating your BMW’s software, please contact your BMW dealer directly. The information contained in this post is purely advisory.